LibriVox Foxe's Book of Martyrs Vol. 2, ed by William Byron Forbush. Read by LibriVox volunteers.
The Book of Martyrs, by John Foxe, is an English Protestant account of the persecutions of Protestants, many of whom had died for their beliefs within the decade immediately preceding its first publication. It was first published by John Day, in 1563. Lavishly illustrated with many woodcuts, it was the largest publishing project undertaken in Britain up to that time. Commonly known as, "Foxe's Book of Martyrs", the work's full title begins with "Actes and Monuments of these Latter and Perillous Days, Touching Matters of the Church." There were many subsequent editions, by Day, and by other editors down through the years. Foxe's original work was enormous (the second edition filling two heavy folio volumes with a total of 2,300 pages, estimated to be twice as long as Edward Gibbon's "Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire." This edition is much abridged from Foxe's original.
This book was first published shortly after the death of Queen Mary. During Mary's reign, common people of Protestant Christian faith were publicly burned at the stake in an attempt to eliminate dissension from Catholic doctrines.
Foxe's account of Mary's reign and its martyrdoms form a significant part of the work. Foxe intended to justify the foundation of the Church of England as a continuation of the true and faithful ancient church, rather than as a new denomination.
The work has a historic perspective. It begins with early Christian martyrs, and continues with the Inquisition, Wycliffe, and the Marian Persecutions.
For the English Church, Foxe's book remains a fundamental witness to the sufferings of faithful Christian people at the hands of the anti-Protestant Roman Catholic authorities, and to the miracle of their endurance unto death.
Roman Catholics often view Foxe's record of this period as extremely partisan and the primary propaganda piece for English anti-Catholicism. Among other objections, the accuracy of Foxe's claims regarding martyrdoms under Mary ignore the mingled political and religious aspects of the time period. Some of the victims may have been intent on removing Mary from the throne. Although the work is more accurate when dealing with events during Foxe's time, it is generally not a correct or impartial account of the period, and includes occasional "willful falsification of evidence" (Summary abridged from Wikipedia by Karen Merline)
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